Francois de Dietrich loses prison sentence appeal

A fugitive businessman at the centre of a suspected multi-million pound investment scam has lost an appeal against an 18-month prison sentence.

Francois de Dietrich had sought to overturn the term imposed for failing to disclose his worldwide assets.

The Court of Appeal dismissed his challenge.

The BBC reports that the French man, who was formerly based in  Donegal, failed to turn up for the hearing in Belfast. There is currently a warrant out for his arrest.

Dozens of people on both sides of the Irish border fear they may have lost millions of pounds in investments made in liquidated stock through him.

Court proceedings launched by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) led to an injunction banning de Dietrich and his company, ETIC Solutions, from taking any more deposits.

Last month the regulatory body secured a summary judgment against him which enabled it to obtain full control of more than £20m in assets.

That move was separate to proceedings which led to de Dietrich being found in contempt of court for not fully revealing his global financial affairs to the FSA.